There was a time when defeat, let alone a nasty KO defeat, was an utterly unthinkable fate for the sublime Roy Jones Junior when he was doing his stuff in the ring. Not any more. Sadly, and no longer shockingly, a stoppage defeat has become a regular occurrence for the man with the once blurring fists and the chilling power.
For reasons only the future Hall of Famer knows (and yes, Jones is still absolutely guaranteed to be enshrined when the time comes, despite his late career embarrassments; ones that cannot erase his former brilliance) Jones continued to risk his health by carrying on fighting after taking that nasty and disturbing KO hammering at the heavy hands of cruiserweight Denis Lebedev in late 2011. Jones should arguably have called it a career even before his Russian disaster – maybe after his KO loss to Glen Johnson, way back in 2004 – but instead the 48 year-old has fought a further 11 bouts since the Lebedev defeat.
Jones, once so fast his opponents could scarcely land a glove on him, has now lost nine fights, suffering 5 KO defeats. For the record, Jones has been taken out by: Antonio Tarver, Johnson, Danny Green, Lebedev and, perhaps most unsettlingly, certainly most recently, Enzo Maccarinelli. Jones has picked up some wins since the Lebedev horror show, mostly against limited opposition, the type of which he would not have hired as sparring partners during his breathtaking prime years.
And the show goes on. This Friday, in a fight that simply has disaster written all over it, Jones, or what’s left of him, will face tough bare-knuckle KO King Bobby Gunn in a cruiserweight affair in Delaware (no, Jones has not gone back far enough to agree to participate in a bare-knuckle bout, and thankfully the gloves will be donned on Friday night!). Gunn, who was also crushed by Welsh puncher Maccarinelli, inside a round almost a decade ago, could well become the sixth man to flatten Jones.
Who knows what Jones has left, and who knows what skills 43 year-old Gunn, 21-6-1(18) has retained. Gunn can certainly punch though – his bare-knuckle record is listed at 72-0(72) – and we all know Jones’ chin is in no shape to be punched these days. Gunn, who fought another faded great in James Toney a few years back (being retired on his stool after five rounds) can only add to his reputation with a win over Jones.
But after yet another humiliation will the former great decide, finally, that enough is enough. We can only hope.